Tag Archives: Recap

What I Loved [July 2019]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!

BOOKS

This was kind of a weird reading month! I had forgotten how much I had actually read throughout the month which was a good surprise! I had a pretty decent reading months with a lot of re-reading Red Rising in preparation for DARK AGE!

I got some decent book mail this month too! I was so excited to get MAYBE THIS TIME by Kacie West and STEALING HOME by Becky Wallace! I can’t wait to read them both.

 

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BOOKS READ (12):

JULY READING STATS

  • # BOOKS READ: 12
  • # BOOKS DNF: 0
  • RATINGS:
    • 5 STARS: 2
    • 4.5 STARS: 0
    • 4 STARS: 6
    • 3.5 STARS: 1
    • 3 STARS: 3
    • 2.5 STARS: 0
    • 2 STARS: 0
  • FORMATS: 
    • AUDIOBOOK: 12

MOVIES & SHOWS

I started a bullet journal this year in part because I wanted to make my own reading journal but also so I could keep track of TV shows! I realized how much I actually watch while I’m working and when Shane and I sit down to watch things at night so I started keeping track of the shows I’ve been binge watching!

Here’s what I watched in July:

  • Stranger Things (Netflix): watched new season 3
  • Orphan Black (BBC America online): watched seasons 1 – 4, episodes 1 & 2 of season 5

I’ve been trying to find some new good shows to watch that fit my current cravings for sci-fi and I remembered people talking about Orphan Black! It’s been so enjoyable to watch. I don’t always love the plot but Tatiana Maslany (who plays all of the clones) is SO talented! She really becomes each new person, complete with different voices, mannerisms, and facial expressions. I have to remind myself that it’s all the same person! She really makes each role feel like a very different person. I’m almost done with the last season!

What I Loved [June 2019]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!

BOOKS

This month was another not good month and not bad month! I had some enjoyable reads but still nothing too stellar, aside from MEMENTO which was just the perfect extra/novella for the Illuminae Files! I didn’t read as much this month because I started read An Ember in the Ashes and those books are longer than my usual audiobook reads, plus I’ve been coming home earlier to work instead of being in the hot shop since the temps have been rising!

 

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BOOKS READ (9):

JUNE READING STATS

  • # BOOKS READ: 9
  • # BOOKS DNF: 0
  • RATINGS:
    • 5 STARS: 1
    • 4.5 STARS: 0
    • 4 STARS: 4
    • 3.5 STARS: 1
    • 3 STARS: 3
    • 2.5 STARS: 0
    • 2 STARS: 0
  • FORMATS: 
    • AUDIOBOOK: 7
    • ARC: 1
    • PROMO BINDING: 1

MOVIES & SHOWS

I started a bullet journal this year in part because I wanted to make my own reading journal but also so I could keep track of TV shows! I realized how much I actually watch while I’m working and when Shane and I sit down to watch things at night so I started keeping track of the shows I’ve been binge watching!

Here’s what I watched in June:

  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Netflix): Season 1, Season 2 (just a couple episodes)
  • Dead to Me (Netflix): All of Season 1
  • What/If (Netflix): Season 1, episodes 1 – 4
  • Stranger Things (Netflix): rewatched seasons 1 & 2

I really, really enjoyed the first season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend but the second season was just not even interesting to me. I didn’t have as much fun with the new story line and the songs also were not as good.

I really enjoyed Dead to Me! It wasn’t what I was expecting but it was a really interesting watch, full of some real grief, twists, and even some humor. What/If is also proving to be interesting. It’s a little weird but there are tons of mysteries and I think we’re going to get some interesting twists too.

And I had to do my rewatch of Stranger Things! I didn’t really intend to but I didn’t know what watch one day so I figured that would be a great thing to rewatch!!

What I Loved [May 2019]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!

BOOKS

I thought it was going to be a small reading month because I took almost two weeks to binge watch Game of Thrones from start to finish, but I actually managed to finish some physical copies on my weekend reads and sneak a few more audiobooks in there!

 

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BOOKS READ (12):

APRIL READING STATS

  • # BOOKS READ: 12
  • # BOOKS DNF: 1 (LAIR OF DREAMS by Libba Bray)
  • RATINGS:
    • 5 STARS: 0
    • 4.5 STARS: 0
    • 4 STARS: 4
    • 3.5 STARS: 3
    • 3 STARS: 3
    • 2.5 STARS: 1
    • 2 STARS: 1
  • FORMATS: 
    • AUDIOBOOK: 11
    • ARC: 1
    • HARDCOVER: 1 (TIME OF DEATH split between hardcover and audiobook)

EVENTS

I got to meet Jay Kristoff at his event at Anderson’s Bookshop in the beginning of the month! The event was a lot of fun and Jay is such a great person to see at events!! He’s funny but so straight to the point and of course, I love his books!

 

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MOVIES & SHOWS

I started a bullet journal this year in part because I wanted to make my own reading journal but also so I could keep track of TV shows! I realized how much I actually watch while I’m working and when Shane and I sit down to watch things at night so I started keeping track of the shows I’ve been binge watching!

Here’s what I watched in May:

  • Game of Thrones (HBO Go): Season 8, episodes 4-6 (series complete)
  • Shameless (Netflix): Season 5, episodes 11-12; Season 6, episodes 1-2
  • iZombie (Netflix, CW Seed): Seasons 1 – 5 (caught up through current live season)
  • The Society (Netflix): Season 1 (caught up through only premiered season so far)

We all have our FEELINGS about Game of Thrones. I really enjoyed every episode but I also really didn’t like the last episode… I think I COULD have been okay with everything if it had been presented differently and it just didn’t work for me the way that everything unraveled. I really did appreciate everything else about the show and it’s still so incredibly stunning!

My new obsession this month was iZombie! I really enjoyed the whole series and I’ve had such a fun time watching it! It’s light, has some dark humor, and really has a great cast of characters!

I also watched The Society this month and it was so interesting! I really wanted some more answers from this season to see what exactly was happening but it has some great things going for it and really great actors! I immediately got hooked on the characters!

What I Loved [April 2019]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!

BOOKS

I thought it was going to be a small reading month because I took almost two weeks to binge watch Game of Thrones from start to finish, but I actually managed to finish some physical copies on my weekend reads and sneak a few more audiobooks in there!

 

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BOOKS READ (10):

APRIL READING STATS

  • # BOOKS READ: 10
  • # BOOKS DNF: 0
  • RATINGS:
    • 5 STARS: 0
    • 4.5 STARS: 0
    • 4 STARS: 4
    • 3.5 STARS: 1
    • 3 STARS: 4
    • 2.5 STARS: 1
    • 2 STARS: 0
  • FORMATS: 
    • AUDIOBOOK: 7
    • ARC: 2
    • HARDCOVER: 1

 

MOVIES & SHOWS

I started a bullet journal this year in part because I wanted to make my own reading journal but also so I could keep track of TV shows! I realized how much I actually watch while I’m working and when Shane and I sit down to watch things at night so I started keeping track of the shows I’ve been binge watching!

Here’s what I watched in April:

  • Game of Thrones (HBO Go): Seasons 1 – 7 (binge watch); Season 8 episodes 1-3 (as they premiere)
  • The Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix): All of Season 3 (caught up on current seasons)
  • Shameless (Netflix): Season 4, episodes 11 – 12; Season 5 (all)
  • The Magicians (SyFy via website): Season 4, episodes 11 – 13 (as they premiered)
  • American Gods (Starz, via Xfinity Stream): Season 2, episodes 4 – 8 (as they premiered)
  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix): Season 2 (all, caught up on current seasons)
  • The Order (Netflix): Season 1 (all, caught up on current seasons)
  • Impostors (Netflix): All of Seasons 1 – 2 (series complete)

I had a great time binge-watching Game of Thrones and getting all caught up! I had seen seasons 1-2 before but I started back from the beginning since it had been so long.

I was hoping for a lot more from The Order, to be honest. The trailer made it seem a lot witchier and it dealt more with the secret society part and had a lot more to do with werewolves. *shrug*

What I Loved [March 2019]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!

BOOKS

March was a little bit of hodge-podge of a month! I had a few quick romance reads and then a span where I really read nothing at all for over a week… I was working on some things here and there but for a while, I just wasn’t in an audiobook mood! The more I binge watch things, the more I want to find new shows to watch, but I’m starting to come up with a good balance between books and TV (until new shows get released again, and forever debating when to catch up on Game of Thrones when I’m six seasons behind and still have to read at some point)…

 

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BOOKS READ (9):

MARCH READING STATS

  • # BOOKS READ: 9
  • # BOOKS DNF: 0
  • RATINGS:
    • 5 STARS: 1
    • 4.5 STARS: 0
    • 4 STARS: 5
    • 3.5 STARS: 1
    • 3 STARS: 1
    • 2.5 STARS: 0
    • 2 STARS: 1
  • FORMATS: 
    • AUDIOBOOK: 7
    • ARC: 1
    • HARDCOVER: 1

EVENTS & WANDERINGS

I went to Virginia/Washington DC to be a vendor at Apollycon in late March! I didn’t post any photos of it to my blog account but I had a lot of fun attending as a vendor and it was a great experience in so many ways! I got to see some old friends, meet some new friends, and spend time with my husband (who came to help and also turn it into a vacation with me) and my friend Kori from @_livelaughread who also helped me run the table! It was such a great event and I hope to attend again next year!

MOVIES & SHOWS

I started a bullet journal this year in part because I wanted to make my own reading journal but also so I could keep track of TV shows! I realized how much I actually watch while I’m working and when Shane and I sit down to watch things at night so I started keeping track of the shows I’ve been binge watching!

Here’s what I watched in March:

I was actually so busy with everything going on that I didn’t keep up in my bullet journal about my TV shows! I watched more Shameless and I think I’m nearing the end of Season 4 now. After reading KILLING NOVEMBER, I decided to head back into Deadly Class because they had the same kind of vibe and I’m now caught up on all current episodes! And long the way I’ve been watching some non-binges of other favorites like The Magicians and American Gods in their new seasons.

What I Loved [February 2019]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!

BOOKS

I had a couple DNFs in February that screwed up my reading flow! Then I just decided to do a series re-read and getting into some more TV show binges, because that’s become quite a norm for me now! As much as I love spending all my time listening to audiobooks, I’ve really been enjoying this break from listening and I watched some great shows this month! But anyway, this part is about the books so let’s get to it!

 

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BOOKS READ (8):

DNFs:

  • Suspicious Minds (Stranger Things #1) by Gwneda Bond
  • The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) by Maureen Johnson

FEBRUARY READING STATS

  • # BOOKS READ: 8
  • # BOOKS DNF: 2
  • RATINGS:
    • 5 STARS: 2
    • 4.5 STARS: 1
    • 4 STARS: 2
    • 3.5 STARS: 0
    • 3 STARS: 3
    • 2.5 STARS: 0
  • FORMATS: 
    • AUDIOBOOK: 8
    • ARC: 0
    • HARDCOVER: 0

EVENTS & WANDERINGS

I stopped by local indie Harvey’s Tales again while I was in the area, just to stop in, and also made it into local Indies The Bookshop of Glen Ellyn (to drop off more candles!) and Prairie Path Books in Wheaton. I had never been into the Wheaton bookstore before and it was great to see the Glen Ellyn bookstore after its remodel!

 

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MOVIES & SHOWS

I started a bullet journal this year in part because I wanted to make my own reading journal but also so I could keep track of TV shows! I realized how much I actually watch while I’m working and when Shane and I sit down to watch things at night so I started keeping track of the shows I’ve been binge watching!

Here’s what I watched in February:

  • THE OFFICE (Netflix): Finished Season 5 (started in January), watched all of seasons 6-9 | SERIES FINISHED
  • BETTER CALL SAUL (Netflix, Amazon): Finished Season 3 (started in January), purchased Season 4 to watch via Amazon | SERIES FINISHED THROUGH CURRENT RELEASES
  • THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY (Netflix): Started and finished Season 1 | SERIES FINISHED THROUGH CURRENT RELEASES
  • THE SANTA CLARITA DIET (Netflix): Started and finished Seasons 1 and 2 | SERIES FINISHED THROUGH CURRENT RELEASES

I had a lot of fun completing my re-watch of The Office because I hadn’t seen the later seasons until earlier this year (which is what prompted my re-watch) and I still hadn’t seen all of the episodes! I had missed some here and there so it was great to really know that I’ve seen everything.

Shane and I loved Breaking Bad and we’ve been loving Better Call Saul! We dropped the money to buy the 4th season from Amazon so we didn’t have to stop watching it even though it’ll probably be on Netflix later this year.

I absolutely LOVED The Umbrella Academy and thought it was so good!! It was so enjoyable, I loved the abilities, the characters were great, and there were some awesome twists I didn’t see coming!

And lastly, I binge watched The Santa Clarita Diet in two days, basically watching the first season in one day and the second season the next day, both while I was working. It was so funny while being dark and I just had so much fun watching it!

I also watched all four Hunger Games movies after listening to the books as re-reads and I had never seen the last movie, actually! It was the perfect reason to re-watch the movies and finally see the very last one.

What I Loved [January 2019]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!

BOOKS

I had trouble figuring out what book I wanted to kick off 2019! It didn’t need to be anything crazy but I do like starting the year on a good note, and I try not to make it a reread for arbitrary reasons. After four days of watching Netflix, I finally chose a book and then got into my reading swing! I ended up reading eleven books this month which with all the TV I watched is a pretty good number and a healthy start to the year!

 

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BOOKS READ (11):

JANUARY READING STATS

  • # BOOKS READ: 11
  • # BOOKS DNF: 0
  • RATINGS:
    • 5 STARS: 1
    • 4.5 STARS: 1
    • 4 STARS: 2
    • 3.5 STARS: 2
    • 3 STARS: 1
    • 2.5 STARS: 1
  • FORMATS: 
    • AUDIOBOOK: 9
    • ARC: 1
    • HARDCOVER: 1

EVENTS & WANDERINGS

I stopped by local indie Harvey’s Tales again this month, this time to drop off a candle order, and I can’t get over how cute it is! This time I got to stay and chat with some staff and I ordered myself a coffee to go, not to mention I did some shopping for myself… Oops! I picked up a copy of THE WICKED KING, an enamel pin, and a t-shirt which I’ve already worn multiple times. Their t-shirts were only $10 and that’s SUCH a good deal. A bookish shirt, a local business, and an affordable price? I was instantly sold.

 

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MOVIES & SHOWS

I started a bullet journal this year in part because I wanted to make my own reading journal but also so I could keep track of TV shows! I realized how much I actually watch while I’m working and when Shane and I sit down to watch things at night so I started keeping track of the shows I’ve been binge watching! Here’s what January brought:

  • BREAKING BAD (Netflix): Finished Season 1 (started in December), watched all of seasons 2-5 | SERIES FINISHED
  • YOU (Netflix): Watched all of Season 1 | SERIES FINISHED up to current releases
  • MANIAC (Netflix): Watched all of Season 1 | SERIES FINISHED
  • FUTUREMAN (Hulu): Watched Season 1, episodes 1-4 | SERIES ABANDONED
  • THE GOOD PLACE (Netflix, Xfinity On-Demand, Hulu): Watched Seasons 1-3 | SERIES FINISHED up to current releases
  • THE OFFICE (Netflix): Finished Season 1 (started in December), watched all of Seasons 2-4, watched Season 5 Episodes 1-3
  • BETTER CALL SAUL (Netflix): Finished Season 1, watched Season 2 Episodes 1-6

What I Loved [December 2018 and Year Wrap-Up]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!

BOOKS

December was full of a LOT of re-reads, but it was actually pretty great because it kind of got me in the mood to read again! I had spent a lot of time in October and November watching shows, which is also great, but I did miss my books! I still have plans to do even more re-reads in 2019 (the Six of Crows duet, the Gentleman Bastard series), but I’ll probably space those out throughout the year! I know I’ll be reading SIX OF CROWS again in January before the release of KING OF SCARS!

 

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BOOKS READ (11):

December was kind of a mixed bag! With holiday orders to work on, I didn’t want to listen to a lot of new books if I knew my focus wasn’t going to be there, so I opted for a lot of re-reads for while I was working. I actually finished three physical copies with eight being audiobooks, which I feel was pretty good! With time spent with family and going out for the holidays, I had a little less reading time, and yet I had more reading time not having to go to work some mornings.

2018 READING STATS

This year was the year that I read the most, ever! I read 133 books which “beat” my 2013 original best of 132 by one book, but I also read more novellas in 2013 whereas my reads of 2018 were more full-length novels. This was also by far my biggest year page-wise, reading 50,275 pages (according to Goodreads, counting by whatever version I had listed there) versus my previous best of 42,569 in 2013, so that’s 6000 more pages!!

  • 2018 NUMBER OF BOOKS READ: 133
  • 2018 NUMBER OF PAGES READ: 50,275
  • NUMBER OF FIVE-STAR READS: 29
    • FIVE-STAR RE-READS: 17
    • FIVE-STAR NEW READS: 12
  • LONGEST BOOK: KINGDOM OF ASH by Sarah J. Maas
  • SHORTEST BOOK: PROS & CONS (novella) by Janet Evanovich
  • FAVORITE BOOK OF 2018: MORNING STAR by Pierce Brown

I also did a countdown with my bookstagram friends with our #12daysof2018 favorites! I won’t post all of the photos here but you can check out my Instagram to see my top 12 reads of the year!!

MOVIES & SHOWS

December brought a bunch of new Netflix episodes and shows! Shane and I watched all of the new episodes of The Ranch, and I caught up on new show The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, as well as new episodes of Fuller House and Travelers. Everything was so good!

I also started watching Westworld and made it into the second season, but to be honest, I got kind of bored. There were a few good surprises and twists, but the overall plot is a little lacking for me. I get the point of it but I don’t really care out the end-goal so I’m not sure if I’ll finish the second season. Maybe later on down the road.

I just started watching Breaking Bad for the first time and within a couple days, I’m already almost done with season two! I also started a little rewatch of The Office on a working day where I didn’t want to listen to or watch anything new, so we’ll see if I keep going with a whole re-watch.

Lastly, there was the new Black Mirror “Bandersnatch” episode that was a choose-your-own-adventure! I only watched it once but I heard that there really are actually multiple endings and that they’re different and don’t all lead back to the same ending like I had thought, so I’ll have to keep doing it a few more times to see all the different paths!

I think I’m going to start a bullet journal for 2019 for all of my reads and TV shows!

What I Loved [November 2018]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!

BOOKS

November was such a busy month and I shamefully only posted four blog posts this past month! I’ve really been wanting to keep up with blog even though I’ve been so busy with candles but I’ve been so wiped out from all of the Black Friday preparation and orders that I keep falling asleep on the couch after I get home from a day of candlemaking! Hopefully this month, I’ll be able to do some working ahead and getting back to some blogging! I really do miss it.

 

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BOOKS READ (7):

This is almost definitely my “worst” month of the year but once again, I felt like doing a lot of binge watching and I just wasn’t in the mood for audiobooks. The only print book I managed to finish this moth was KINGDOM OF ASH but that was 1000 pages so I think that would normally count as like three books, haha! I did start THE BONE SEASON but I’m only halfway through so I wouldn’t have finished this month anyway, but I am really happy with my MISTBORN re-reads because there is SO much that I forgot!

EVENTS

In early November, I got to interview Marissa Meyer (see previous post) and attend her event in Naperville, IL! As always, it was so delightful to see her and I didn’t even make her sign 50 books haha! The event was a lot of fun with great energy and it was so much fun to attend for a book other than The Lunar Chronicles (I wasn’t able to make it to her last event in a previous year).

 

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Brittany (@bookswrotemystory), Megan (@meganthemeganerd), and I spent the weekend together for the event and we made a trip of it! We went out to Volumes in Chicago for some book-inspired coffee and some bookstore time and even stopped by a Friends-theme pop-up bar! I was kind of hoping for more with the pop-up bar, but it was still fun to pretend we were on the set of Friends!

 

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MOVIES & SHOWS

November was all about Dexter! I started a re-watch in October that led me all the way through November, finally finishing the series on the very last day of the month. There was a lot that I forgot in earlier seasons so it was good to refresh my memory and things were just absolutely crazy in the last few seasons! I really did enjoy every episode. I’m not sure I loved the way that it ended but it definitely made for an emotional finale and it was a good way to close things off. Now I only wish those season 9 rumors had been true! I googled just to make sure and nope, it was a fan-made poster that set the whole thing into motion. Not gonna happen.

Exclusive Interview with Marissa Meyer on the Archenemies Tour!

ARCHENEMIES TOUR

Marissa Meyer at North Central College/Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL

I always go see Marissa Meyer when she’s in town and I was so excited to be able to see her again in Naperville, this time for the ARCHENEMIES book tour! The amazing folks at Macmilan/Fierce Reads asked me if I wanted to interview Marissa before the event and of course I said yes! I sat down with Marissa to ask her a few questions about the Renegades series, super powers, and of course, Harry Potter sorting.

(Portions edited for time and flow, only affecting ease of reading and not the actual interview or answers.)

Brittany: We’re celebrating the release of ARCHENEMIES, which is the second book in the Renegades trilogy. The series was initially planned to be a two-book series. Did you always feel like it should have been a trilogy, or did that develop as you were writing the series?
Marissa Meyer: Originally, it did sell as a trilogy so for many, many drafts of RENEGADES. I wrote it attempting to make it a trilogy, but I had thought that the central idea of this hero and villain character falling in love wasn’t itself enough to carry it through three whole books. My plan had been to focus on other characters for the first two books and then Adrian and Nova were going to be the central characters of the third and final book… and it just didn’t work and it wasn’t working and it wasn’t working and after years and years of kind of pulling my hair out, we decided, you know what? Let’s just focus on Nova’s and Adrian’s story and make it a standalone! So RENEGADES became a standalone. I started writing it and finally it started to come together. Finally, I was able to focus on this story between Nova and Adrian, which is what I really wanted to be writing the whole time! So I’m writing it and it kept getting longer and longer and longer, and at some point I realized, hey! I think this could actually be two books. I told my editor and she was thrilled. So we made it two books and I finished RENEGADES. That was done and I started working on ARCHENEMIES, and it kept getting longer and longer and longer… And, at some point it became clear that it was actually three books! And so now it’s a trilogy and working on book three, and I’m preeetty sure we’re done at three. I’m pretty sure.
Brittany: That’s interesting! I like that, though! It’s like you never know where it’s going to take you.
Marissa: Yeah, this book has had a lot of surprises!

Brittany: That was actually one of my other questions! Was there any character scene that really surprised you as you were writing these books and brought you to places you didn’t expect? So I guess we kind of already answer that in part!
Marissa: Yeah. There are tons of things that surprised me! Hmm, what are some specific examples…
Brittany: Were there any characters that ended up getting more page time that you didn’t think were going to be such a big part of the book?
Marissa: No, if anything, there are characters that ended up getting less face time than I expected that they would initially, but it kind of fluctuates. There are characters who you didn’t see a whole lot of in book one, but then they come up more in book two. There’s a character who was supposed to play a huge role in book two and then it ended up not working at all. So now we’re going to see them in book three and that kind of whole [concept] got moved to book three. Then there’s, you know, ideas for scenes that you think will work and end up not working, or you’re writing along and suddenly character says something that completely surprises you and you have to go with it. I mean, there’s always things in writing that come up and change.

Brittany: I really love a well-rounded villain, and I love how often we get to see the inner-workings behind the villains in your books! We got to see Levana’s sort of origin story in FAIREST, the Queen of Hearts and her beginning in HEARTLESS, and now we have so much insight to the Anarchists with Nova being a main character in the Renegades trilogy! Are these types of characters more difficult to write because of their many layers? Or does that actually help you with so much to build off of?
Marissa: It depends! I mean, some of my hero characters are more difficult to write than others, and some of the villain characters difficult are more difficult to write than others, so it doesn’t seem to necessarily be one or the other. But certainly in writing the villains, I’m always trying to make sure that I really understand where they’re coming from. Whether it’s something in their past that has driven them to be a certain way, or something that they’re trying to accomplish that’s motivating them, I want readers to may say, “You know, well, I don’t agree with what they’re doing — they’re really making bad choices — but I can kind of understand why, or I can empathize with them on some level.” So as the writer, of course, I’m always trying to find ways to empathize with them and connect with them in the hopes that we’ll come across to the the readers.
Brittany: I think that’s really interesting with all of the Anarchists who kind of have different levels — there are some people who are so far gone and then Nova, especially being a main character —  you get to see how she interacts with the heroes. And I just think that’s really neat how you get to see all of that, all in one book.
Marissa: Well, thank you! I love writing the villains.

Brittany: Were there any specific sources of inspiration for some of these unique superpowers? Like Ruby’s? Or Honey & Danna with their insect connection?
Marissa: For the most part, [I go with it] if i get an idea that I think seems really cool. Most of the superpowers, I got the idea for them and thought they would just be cool ideas to write about, or were a very visual superpower. I like to write my books to have a very kind of cinematographic quality to them and so something that[, the visual superpowers,] I just thought it would be really neat to play with in different battle sequences and whatnot, so I’m always drawn to powers like that. Alternatively, if there’s something that I think I would really like to have, like that’s a superpower that I would love, then those tend to take top billing too.
Brittany: Were there any of the book that you were ones that you really wanted to have?
Marissa: Nova’s… I would love to never have to sleep! I do also like Adrian’s, too. I do not have any really artistic skill and I’ve always envied people who could drive and paint. You know, it’s sort of symbolic that there are people who could draw something, and it feels like it comes to life on the page. Adrian can actually make things come to life and I just think that’s so cool!

Brittany: The Renegades trilogy is your first release that didn’t have fairy tale inspiration. Was the writing process a lot different without having to go back to a specific source like that? Or did it have any different inspirations?
Marissa: So different, it was so different! I mean, when you’re doing a fairy tale retelling or origin story, like with HEARTLESS, you have a built-in framework already. You know, if I’m doing Cinderella — we know there’s going to be a stepmother. We know there’s going to be a ball. We know there’s to be some sort of shoe that gets lost — like there are things that you know are going to happen, and then you can kind of build the story off of that. But with Renegades being completely original, I had influences — plenty of influences — but nevertheless, I had complete freedom to do anything that I wanted with the story. At first I thought that was going to be great and so easy and fun! And it turned out to be the opposite… I had so many ideas and so many different directions that I thought about taking the story. I tried so many things and really got very lost many, many times and saying, “What could I do with this story? There’s so many options!” and lost focus with it again and again until I finally was able to figure out okay, what is this story that i’m trying to tell?
Brittany: Do you think there would be any like spin-offs or little novellas for the things that did have to get pushed aside?
Marissa: I don’t know! There are a couple of characters that ended up getting cut that I thought had potential for their own works… probably not in the Renegades world — probably a completely different universe’s story world — but I just like some of the ideas that came along with them and I think I could definitely recycle them into something new at some point. As far as, spin-off stories… I have felt like there’s definitely potential to do something from the Age of Anarchy. There’s certainly lots of cool stories that could be pulled from that time period! I don’t know that I will, but it’s something that I have thought about, so we’ll see.

Brittany: There are so many excellent character connections in this series, from family to friendship to romance to teammate. Do you have a favorite character relationship in the Renegades trilogy?
Marissa: Well, I always love the romance story lives obviously! Adrian and Nova, but I also Adrian’s dads, Simon and Hugh — I love every scene where we see them! I think they’re so charming. So in all of my books, everything I’ve ever written before, none of my characters ever have good families! Like, they’re always neglected, and abused — these poor characters of mine! And Adrian was really the first protagonist that I have where he comes from a healthy, loving family, and that is so refreshing to be able to write! I always enjoy those scenes.

Brittany: If you could get yourself a tattoo like Adrian does, which power would you give to yourself first?
Marissa: That’s really good question! I haven’t been asked that before…  I’m trying to think if there’s a tattoo that would let me fly…
Brittany: Wings on your feet?
Marissa: I’m going to have to think about that one!
Brittany: It’s a tough question! I couldn’t think of one for myself…
Marissa: Yeah, because all of his are very centric on like fighting! Even like the jumping thing — having tattoos on the soles of your feet sounds painful… so I’m not sure!

Brittany: If characters from your other books had superhero names and powers, what do you think they would be?
Marissa: So, the first that comes to mind for Cinder would be The Mechanic! She somehow be able to magically fix things… which she sort of already has that superpower! I could totally see Scarlet having fire power and being… the Scarlet Witch,  but that that already exists — there’s Scarlet Witch in Marvel! Hmm, like the Scarlet Flame or something! Wolf would probably [something like a shapeshifter]… There’s another word I was going for, but that works, so he can turn into a wolf!

Brittany: If we were to sort the Renegades characters into Hogwarts Houses, would all of the Anarchist be Slytherins, or will there be a good mix or balance in there?
Marissa: Good question! I almost feel like Nova might be more Ravenclaw than Slytherin…  She might even pass for Gryffindor. Honey would definitely be Slytherin. The Puppeteer, he would be Slytherin. Leroy… He could be Ravenclaw too. But maybe Slytherin. Who am I forgetting ? Phobia! We forgot Phobia!
Brittany: That’s a good question! Are we going to get to know more about Phobia? I’m very excited for that! I just feel like we’re being led up to that.
Marissa: He’s an example of someone who I thought was going to play a much bigger role in the first two books and then ended up not really coming to fruition, but he just become more central in book three.
Brittany: I’m loving the lead up, though. Like, you know that you’re going to get more information and that’s really exciting!

Brittany: I know you love writing romances and I love how naturally they develop. It’s not quick into romance, like you can feel that tension and everything leading up with Nova and Adrian. Is it hard not to just jump right into the kissing scenes?
Marissa: So hard!! All I ever want is for my characters to start kissing! In my very first draft that I ever wrote of CINDER, her and Kai were kissing on like, page 30. Like, let’s do this!! But yeah, I mean, i’m always looking forward to that part. But also as a reader, if the romance develops too fast and they’re kissing too soon, then I lose interest. Like no, no, no, I want the struggle and the tension and suspense, and I really like it to last as long as possible!

I had SUCH a great time interviewing Marissa and another big thank you to her for giving us this scoop and insight on the Renegades trilogy!